The Sahara Force India team managed to get both drivers into the top ten in qualifying ahead of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, with Nico Hulkenberg coming out on top of team-mate Sergio Perez on his home track. Hulkenberg will start ninth and Perez tenth.
Hulkenberg had a good qualifying session, and felt he got the best out of his car to place ninth. He feels the long run pace of the car in the hot conditions has been good and if the heat remains believes the team should be in a good position.
“I’m feeling fairly happy and satisfied with ninth place and it’s pretty much where we expected to be,” said Hulkenberg. “This weekend our pace over a single lap has not been the best, but making the top ten gives us a good track position and the chance to make the most of our long-run pace, which has looked promising.
“I think tomorrow will be a tricky race because of the heat and getting the tyre management right will be very important. The hotter races have suited us so far this season so we expect that to be the same tomorrow. Points with both cars has to be the goal.”
Team-mate Perez knocked out his 2013 McLaren team-mate Jenson Button in the final seconds of the second part of qualifying, and took tenth in Q3. He expected a tough qualifying session but hopes to have stronger pace during the race, which has been one of the stronger points of an impressive season for Force India.
“I am very happy we made it to Q3 because the crew did an amazing job to get the car ready after a small issue in Q2,” said Perez. “We couldn’t finish our first run on new option tyres, which made things difficult because you lose all track references and the track was changing very quickly with the wind and high temperatures. So we only had one shot to make the top ten and we made it with a great lap.
“I think ninth and tenth in Q3 is a fair result for today, but I expect us to be stronger in the race tomorrow, especially if the weather stays dry. It will be a race where you will have to manage your tyres very well and I’m feeling confident that we can come away with a good result.”
Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley admitted getting both cars into the top ten in qualifying was the target, and was happy to see that come to fruition. He is hoping the race enables them to continue their record of scoring points in every Grand Prix in 2014.
“Making the top ten with both cars was the target and the whole team should feel satisfied with our performance,” said Fernley. “With both cars starting from the fifth row, we are already well placed and our race pace should allow us to take a strong fight to the cars ahead of us.
“The hot weather has normally suited us this year so I think we can feel quite relaxed about our performance if the hot weather continues. We have a good understanding of the tyres based on the work we did on Friday and if we can make the right strategy calls tomorrow we can come away with a good helping of points.”